Archive for the ‘ ~SMITHFIELD RI~ ’ Category

Mowry – Smithfield

  • Mowry Conservation Area
  • Old Forge Road, Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°55’13.78″N,  71°33’7.45″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 4, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 mile
  • Easy with some elevation.

 

Mowry is one of the “Seven Scenic Walks” of Smithfield. This afternoon I set out to complete the last three of them. Mowry was the first stop. It is a wooded property along Old Forge Road with a stream (the Woonasquatucket River), picnic area, large boulders, and ledges. The entrance is stunningly beautiful with a large looming ledge to the right of the access bridge. After crossing the bridge there is two loop trails to choose from. I choose to do both, doing the yellow loop first. The yellow loop is the more challenging of the two with a significant hill to climb. The red trail does have some slight elevation to it, but the majority of it is rather level in comparison. Both trails are shrouded by a plethora of pines and hemlocks. Both trails total just about a mile. The stream at the time of this hike was very low as a result of a very dry summer. Several birds could be heard here and I saw some squirrels.

Trail map can be found at: Mowry.

The Bridge To The Loops

The Bridge To The Loop Trails

Wolf Hill/Mercer Lookout – Smithfield

  • Wolf Hill Forest Preserve/Mercer Outlook
  • Waterview Drive, Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°53’56.01″N, 71°32’22.30″W
  • First Time Hiked: July 27, 2014
  • Last Time Hiked: August 5, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.0 miles
  • Moderate to difficult due to elevation.

 

The Wolf Hill Forest Preserve is another Smithfield Land Trust property. It offers several miles of trails, a couple of overlooks, and a World War II memorial. We had a small group out for this very humid hike. We had rain approaching from the west as well. We started at the green blazed trailhead on Waterview Drive. The trail immediately ascends and winds up the hill. The green blazed trail passes through areas with several types of trees and is quite rocky in some areas. When we reached the yellow blazed trail we turned left to follow it. The yellow trails winds through an area of moss covered boulders before coming to the power lines. After crossing under the power lines the trail turns right up an area of outcrop before turning left back into the woods. After entering the woods again we came across some fellow hikers from The Rhode Island Hiking Club doing one of their infamous “Wolf Hill Exercise Hikes”. After chatting briefly with them we moved on along the yellow trail to the site of the World War II plane crash. Three U.S. servicemen died here on August 5, 1943 after their plane experienced an engine failure and crashed on Wolf Hill. The Airmen’s Memorial features a large boulder, believed to be where the plane came to its rest, and a plaque with the names of the servicemen. We then continued on the yellow trail until we reached the white trail. The two trails intersect here. We stayed to the right onto the white trail following it until, first crossing the blue blazed trail, then continuing along the white before we turned left onto the blue blazed trail as it intersected once again. The blue blazed trail brought us to the Mercer Lookout. On a clear day it is said that you can see Providence, Brayton Point in Somerset, the upper Narragansett Bay, and the Mount Hope Bridge in Bristol. Today, being hazy, cloudy, and humid, we could see only parts of Providence. There is also a chimney here, being the remains of what was once believed to be a cabin. After we lingered for a bit here we retraced our steps back to the intersection of the white and yellow trails. We then followed the white trail instead of making our way back down the yellow. The white trail eventually led back across the power lines and to the Ken Weber Memorial Trail which is a red blazed trail at the next intersection. Ahead is an unblazed trail that leads to the Quarry Overlook. We turned right following the red blazed Ken Weber Trail to its end at the green trail. For those so inclined of a more challenging hike, instead of following the red trail to its end, pick up the green trail about two tenths of a mile after turning onto the red trail. It will lead you almost all the way down Wolf Hill before sending you back up. The trail is very reminisce of trails I have hiked in the White Mountains in years past. Although challenging, the beauty of this section of the green trail is well worth it. There is one area that has a massive rock wall as the trails passes it. Regardless of which route you choose, from the intersection of the end of the red trail and green trail, follow the green trail back to the beginning of the hike. Although it was a gray and humid day the weather held out until just about the end of the hike.

 

Trail Map can be found at: Wolf Hill/Mercer Lookout.

Airmen's Memorial At Wolf Hill

Airmen’s Memorial At Wolf Hill

Along The Green Trail

Along The Green Trail

Cascade Brook – Smithfield

  • Ken Weber Conservation Area at Cascade Brook
  • Mapleville Road, Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°52’47.54″N, 71°34’11.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 11, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 mile
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation and climbing.

 

Cascade Brook made for a nice short and scenic Sunday afternoon stroll. Starting from the dead end of Mapleville Road I made my way into the conservation area following the blue blazed trail. It is a loop trail that is just about a mile long and climbs up and down small hills and ledges. The main feature of this hike is a seasonal waterfall. It is suggested to hike here in the spring when the waterfall is most likely to be active. There are also other trails here. I followed one, short that it was, into a nearby apple orchard. The conservation area is dedicated to Ken Weber who was a Smithfield resident and the author of several hiking books that I have used in research.

 

Trail map can be found at: Cascade Brook.

Seasonal Waterfall

Seasonal Waterfall

Powder Mill Ledges – Smithfield

  • Powder Mill Ledges
  • Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°52’5.84″N,  71°31’50.36″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 11, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.7 miles
  • Easy with slight elevation, some rocky footing in areas.

A beautiful spring afternoon in Southern New England. The sun was out and the temperature finally made it into the 60’s. I started this hike from the parking area following the orange trail to the left as it passed through an open field before heading slightly uphill into the woods. There were several birds here. I then turned left onto the blue trail which traversed through an area of thick pine groves. I then turned left onto the yellow connector trail through an area that was quite rocky while passing under some power lines. The trail comes to an access road. The trail continues ahead of you. At the next road I turned left briefly before turning right onto the remainder of yellow trail. In this stretch I came across a snake as well as a deer. The yellow trail eventually crosses the second access road again before coming to the access road by the power lines. At this point I turned left and followed the road under the power lines until I reached the connector trail to the right. At the end of the connector trail I turned left onto the blue trail through more pine groves. I then turned left onto the orange trail following back to the parking area. I stopped in at the headquarters building. Here they have a gift shop with several books about nature and hiking. They also have several turtles and snakes for viewing.

More info & trail map can be found at: Powder Mill Ledges.

Along The Blue Trail

Along The Blue Trail

Stillwater – Smithfield

 
 

The Stillwater Scenic Trail is an old railroad line converted into walking trail in Smithfield. I started this walk at a small parking area at Capron Road. The walking trail is fairly wide and is quite level. It runs along the edge of Capron Pond for a bit before you pass the rapids of the Woonasquatucket River. Just before the small dam is the remnants of an old railroad bridge that crosses the river. Continuing pass the dam the trail follows the shore of Stillwater Pond then goes under Route 116 before ending at Farnum Pike. There is parking available at this end as well. At this point I retraced my steps back to Capron Road. At Capron Road I took a short walk to the bridge to take a few photos of the dam at Capron Pond. This walk seemed to be a haven for birds on a very spring feeling morning.

Trail map and additional information can be found at: Stillwater.

Along the Stillwater Scenic Trail.

Along the Stillwater Scenic Trail.

Connors Farm – Smithfield

  • Connors Farm Conservation Area
  • Connors Farm Road, Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°54’16.92″N, 71°33’45.34″W
  • First Time Hiked: April 14, 2013
  • Last Time Hiked: November 13, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.6 miles
  • Moderate with areas of significant elevation.

 

I did not come across much information on-line about this hike, but it is by far one of the best kept secrets in Rhode Island. Starting at a small parking area tucked away between 20 & 24 Connors Farm Road I entered the conservation area. A couple of minutes in I came to the first intersection. At each intersection there is a trail map with a “You Are Here” tag and the paths are very well marked. At this point I turned right onto the red trail. The red trail crosses a small brook at a wooden bridge then continues along the shore of a small pond that has several birdhouses on poles. Toward the end of the pond there is a spur to the right if you want an unobstructed view of the pond. Continuing back to the red trail I came to the next intersection. Here I opted to follow the blue trail. This trail started at first with a slow ascent going by a spectacularly long stone wall. As it bends around to the left the ascent increases. In this area the blue trail splits. To the left was the “Lower Trail” and to the right was the “Cave Trail” both marked as blue. Curiosity kicked in at this point. Cave Trail it was. This section was a bit of a workout as the incline increased more. The trail was narrow and ran along the edge of glacier formations with small caves. I actually had thought to myself that this section would be quite dangerous in wet weather. After the caves the “Lower Trail” rejoined the “Cave Trail” and then the blue trail gave one last challenge of ascent before ending at the yellow trail. I then turned left onto the yellow trail. (More distance could be added to this hike by turning right at this point.) I followed the yellow trail as it winded through the woods until its end at the red trail. Take some time here. The views are spectacular and you get an idea of how much elevation you have climbed so far. Don’t get too close to the edge though. After a short sightseeing break I then proceeded to the right and followed the red trail around a loop to the left, past a wild cranberry bog on the right (I will be back in the fall to check that out), large boulders and outcrops to the left, down to a stone bridge which crosses the stream, and then just a little further to the entrance path on the right. So far, one of the best hikes this year!

I could not find a trail map on-line. See below, I took a picture of one.

Cave Trail

Cave Trail

Connors Trail Map

Connors Trail Map

This trail was featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine – October 2014